MANILA - Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. on Wednesday said he would formally ask Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam for her government to recognize the Philippines' COVID-19 vaccination cards, following concerns from Filipino migrant workers.
“I'll ask Carrie Lam formally why not. I have always been supportive of her superb management of Hong Kong,” Locsin said.
The Philippines' top diplomat earlier confirmed that vaccination cards from the Philippines are not being accepted by Hong Kong because they do not come from a single source.
“Our vaccination cards are not accepted in Hong Kong because they are not connected to a single source. Poor OFWs going to their jobs in Hong Kong even if jabbed,” Locsin said on Tuesday.
On Monday, the Department of Foreign Affairs said that it is still being determined if Hong Kong will recognize the yellow vaccination card being issued by the Philippine Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) for travelers.
Hong Kong still requires a quarantine period for inbound travelers.
STRANDED WORKER’s APPEAL
The development makes overseas Filipino worker (OFW) Maria Flor Balanoyos’ flight to Hong Kong uncertain.
She already has an employer waiting but could not start work since Hong Kong only accepts residents and returning workers who had been vaccinated there
Balanoyos, currently based in Tarlac, has been vaccinated in the City of Manila last May, thanking Manila Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso for opening the city’s vaccination program to non-residents but are overseas Filipino workers.
Her flight to Hong Kong has already been rebooked thrice.
She is hoping that she will be allowed to work in China's Special Administrative Region as soon as possible in light of her family's needs.
She said she has to pay for tuition of her two children and has debts to pay.
“Iyong pakiramdam po na talagang durog na durog po ako. Isa ako sa libong na-stranded na umaasa na makakapasok kami para sa pamilya namin. Kasi sa totoo po talaga, apektado na rin po ang pamilya namin," Balanoyos said.
(I feel so crushed. I am one of the thousands of people stranded and hoping that we would already travel, for the sake of our family. They are severely affected by our situation.)
"Nagho-hope po kami na sana po ay mabigyan kami ng chance na makapasok sa Hong Kong para makapagtrabaho para sa pamilya namin."
(We are hoping that we will be given the chance to enter Hong Kong to be able to work, for my family.)
She hopes her vaccination card from Manila and certificate will be recognized by Hong Kong authorities.
She has also booked online to apply for the yellow vaccination card being issued by the Philippine Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) even though there is no announcement yet from Hong Kong on whether this will be accepted.
“Sobra na po kaming durog na durog. Gusto na po namin makapunta doon para makapagtrabaho para sa pamilya namin at mabigyan ng suporta ang pamilya namin, lalong lalo na po ang mga anak ko po, nag-aaral po. Pasukan na naman po next month. Kahit online po, gagastos pa rin tayo kahit paano."
(We are already crushed. We want to go there to work and help our families. My children are depending on me, they are still studying and the schools open next month.)
She said she hopes the Philippine government can help stranded OFWs meet the requirements of Hong Kong.